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The 4 Roles of a Franchise Unit Manager

leadership people planning Jul 02, 2024
Roles of a Franchise Unit Manager

Within the intricate and complex franchise industry, the franchise unit manager holds the most critical position in the organization.

Think about it! Not only is this leader responsible for managing a store that makes $500,000, $1 million, or $1.5 million annually. What they do every day determines whether that unit will produce the profitability you are expecting

That means that the store won't deliver the desired results if this manager doesn’t do a good job, either because they can’t or because they lack the skills or knowledge. This will affect the overall business and financials.

In this blog post, I'll share the four roles of a franchise unit manager so you can identify their daily duties and responsibilities. You can also use this information to discover what you have to train them on so they can help you move the business forward.


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First Role: Growing and protecting the brand

As a franchisee, you have invested significant money in acquiring the rights to duplicate a brand, and the unit manager is responsible for growing and protecting that brand. To do that, this franchise manager should do the following activities every day:

  • Duplicate the brand with a high level of consistency and be an expert at the processes and procedures the franchise owner has created and delivered to them and their teams. That way, the brand's promise can be fulfilled every day. 
  • Ensure that everything customers experience, see, touch, and hear when they visit the store is executed with integrity. This refers specifically to the image that the franchisor carefully designed for this brand, to make sure it is attractive and welcoming.
  • Guarantee a positive customer experience. The franchise brand gives training and procedures to managers and team members to standardize the service, aiming to satisfy the clients and leave them wanting to repeat the experience.

If the franchise unit manager develops and executes these three tasks every single day through their team members, the brand will be protected. 

Not only that. If there’s consistency, brand integrity, and a positive customer experience, then sales and revenue will keep coming day after day. And, as you know, this is a critical element for your franchise success

Watch this Mini Tip: How to Achieve Excellence in Brand Execution


Second Role: Growing and protecting the business

At the end of the day, you invested in a franchise to make money, and to do that, you have to protect the business. That means growing sales, controlling costs, and ensuring financial profitability. 

The unit manager must know how to do this and make the most money for the franchise. So, they must be aware of critical aspects of the business, such as:

  • Sales strategies. The franchisor will provide the managers with some training and knowledge on how to increase sales, but they also need to understand how to create a local store marketing plan and how customer service affects sales.
  • Cost management. As we all know, sales are the oxygen of the business, but they do not guarantee profitability. That’s why the franchise unit manager has to be able to manage and control the cost of operating the store every day, including the labor costs, the cost of goods, the maintenance, and any controllable costs the store may have. When they have the tools and the knowledge to have maximum control costs, they can bring profitability to the business.
  • Have financial oversight. Store leaders need to understand their key performance indicators, the financial performance of the business, and how to read a profit and loss statement. That way, they can truly participate with you in producing the expected results. 

Having this financial knowledge is critical. Otherwise, how can these men and women grow and protect a business they do not understand? 

Don’t miss: How Much Profit Do Franchises Really Make?


Third Role: Growing and protecting the people

The unit manager is responsible for caring for the people who work within their unit. This is a crucial role because people are the lifeblood of a franchise business, or any business, for that matter, since they are the ones that sell the products and execute and operate the services they offer.

How well these store leaders treat their people will determine the employees’ engagement and motivation to do their daily jobs and protect the brand and the business.

Within the unit manager’s job description, these leaders are responsible for:

  • Recruiting and hiring the best people for the business.
  • Training the team members, with a robust step-by-step plan to give them the skills and abilities they need to do the job correctly.
  • Engaging and motivating the staff to do a great job every day.

The unit manager sets the tone for the whole team and provides the direction they must follow. If they have the right people and train and motivate them appropriately, they will be able to protect and grow the brand and the business on a daily basis. 

In case you missed it: Leadership and Management Skills for Effective Unit Managers


Fourth Role: Representing the franchisee

The last role that a franchise unit manager must fulfill is aligning with your directive since you are delegating the management of the unit to them.

That alignment starts with clarity about your expectations as the franchise owner, so it's essential that you openly and constantly communicate your goals, aspirations, and the things you hope this franchise manager does as they run your business every single day.

If you want them to truly represent you as a franchisee in front of the community, the team, and your vendors, they need to be clear on what you expect. Otherwise, you can't expect them to read your mind to know what you want from them.

It is also important that you have them be accountable for this duty. And, if someone is not doing what you expect or representing you and your organization the right way, you must redirect that behavior to turn things over.

Franchise Mini Tip: How to Reward, Discipline, and Motivate Your People


Developing your unit managers takes time, training, and communication. But if you are able to give your managers the skills, knowledge, and abilities they need to fulfill these four roles with a high level of excellence and consistency, then you will win as a franchise owner

The good news is we can help you with that! Explore our Unit Management training certification, an elite program where we provide these men and women with the skills, tools, and resources they need to be successful at their roles and deliver positive results for your business. 

Visit to learn more!



  • Are your unit managers and staff executing the brand as they should?
  • How much financial and business acumen do your unit managers have?
  • How can you improve your franchise’s recruitment and hiring processes?
  • Do you clearly and openly communicate with your unit leaders?